I'm new to D&D and RPGs in general, but have wanted to play for a long time. Jumping into the new edition, If I purchase the starter set I'm trying to figure out where we would go after we finish.

Should I just create a campaign without the help of the core books (that release in August, September and November)? Or is there material to adapt I can adapt first (on the internet or from other editions that are adaptable), instead of creating it all from the ground up?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Voted to reopen. This is a good example of a question that seems opinion based (“should I do X or Y?”) if not read with any critical thinking, but when looking at it in its totality resolves to “I’m a newb and I am not clear what my options are and the pros and cons thereof.” Hence my answer explaining that published adventures are a thing and here’s some reasons to use them or some to roll your own. Furthermore this is a highly voted question because it’s a common newb question. Don’t drive away new gamers because they don’t have enough grounding to ask with extensive knowledge. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 9 '19 at 14:17

Welcome to the wide world of D&D and RPGs in general. This is a common question from new GMs - where do the adventures come from and do I write my own or use pre-written ones?


Quick terminology check - "an adventure" is a single story arc that may last several "game sessions." A "campaign" is a longer arc that usually encompasses one set of characters going through multiple adventures, and a "campaign setting" is the game world you're using. An old term for a published adventure is a "module." A set of adventures designed to link together and carry you through a large part (or all) of a campaign is nowadays called an "Adventure Path" (previously: a "mega-adventure" or "module series").

Roll Your Own

Some people really take to coming up with their own adventures, and after the Starter Set equivalent (in earlier days it was the D&D Red Box) just make up their own adventures and even settings using the monsters and other bits provided. That's completely fine to do. You don't need the information coming in the core books to do it; there are many RPGs whose entire rules are smaller than just the D&D Starter set and people have created campaigns for them just fine. When those books come out, they'll have more rules and monsters and advice for you to use inside your own adventures if you want.

Modules, Modules, Modules

Other people like to use either partially or exclusively canned adventures. This has the advantage of using other people's work instead of having to do it yourself, and in some cases with published adventures that work is very good (and has maps and art and associated trinkets). The downside is that no published adventure is perfect for you, your group, and your set of characters out of the box, so you will have to tinker with it a little at least and may find it confining. This question shouldn't be answered with a list of the 5e adventures that exist, but there's already a bunch - ENWorld held a contest to generate some and various third party publishers are already hard at work coming out with adventures to keep you busy. On RPGNow there's both WotC and third party adventures coming available in PDF. People are frantically converting and creating adventures and most every blog is starting to be festooned with them, so if you want to use adventures others have written, there's already more than you can use.

Also, 5e has been made more "rules light" in the hope that it'll be easy for people to convert adventures from other D&D versions to it; if you feel confident enough in your cross-rules skillz then you should be able to use adventures you find online or in new/used bookstores for other editions fairly readily in your game.

Most people end up doing a mix - using some canned adventures, using parts of adventures, remixing adventures, intermixing them with their own content. There's no right answer, it's mainly about what you and your group have the most fun doing!


Wotc, (wizards of the coast) the makers of D&D would like you to do the following.

If you finish the starter set between now and when the player handbook comes out in mid August they would prefer that you either convert some old module/adventure or create your own.

However if you finish the starter set after the release of the player handbook, WoTC is producing a large campaign that will take you from levels 1 to 18 called Tyranny of Dragons. The first module is called 'Hoard of the Dragon Queen'. Along with being a module for the RPG the story line of Tyranny of Dragons is also being played out in the MMO called Neverwinter and other mediums.

Of course you don't have to do what WoTC wants you to do, but it is their suggested path after the starter set.


As you are new to RPGs then I'd suggest trying some others as well. There are many freebie games or past editions that could be purchased inexpensively to give you a wider taste for RPGs. Perhaps pick a genre which is different from DnD's high fantasy style, such as a sci-fi setting, or Supers/Heroes, or perhaps even a setting styled on a TV show or other pulp-pop culture thing you like.

Failing that, then I'd suggest encouraging your group to help you decide how to proceed with DnD 5e, as any homebrew or adaptation of older material will take some acceptance from the players and GMs alike. Try adapting a 2nd, 3, 3.5 ed set module and see how that goes, or gather some of the free adaptions already in progress from many of the bloggers and writers out there.

At the very least that will be plenty of content to get you through to November when all the core rules are out.


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